Uniting Distant Stars Vocational Training Update

Uniting Distant Stars Vocational Training Update

In August, you celebrated the third group of vocational training graduates Then, we restarted recruiting for the fourth cohort. Now, we hope to start classes this month.

Last month, Kelvin Fomba (Co-Founder & Director) went on the air. He also brought two alumni who work with UDS. First, Boakai Dillion, 2017/2018 graduate, works as the electrician Instructor. Second, Myrtle Stoe (2018/2019) graduate, works as the student registrar. Without a doubt, their testimonials drew in potential students.

Left to right, Kelvin Fomba, Boakai Dillon, and Myrtle Stoe.

Another exciting development deals with scholarships. One of our sustaining donors provided a $1,500 scholarship. He asked that we recruit 20 women in auto mechanics, electrician, and plumbing. Furthermore, his scholarships reduce their tuition by half. What a wonderful opportunity!

Additionally, a local Liberian organization registered five students and paid their full tuition. They plan to register more before the next term starts. We hope this leads to a lasting partnership.

Indeed, 2020 gave us many challenges but with all your support we continue forward. Thank you for your generous support!

Meet Your 2019/2020 Graduates

Meet Your 2019/2020 Graduates

2019/2020 Diploma Covers

On Saturday, August 1, 2020, 60 vocational training graduates arrived to receive their diplomas. Two others showed up that day to check-in and received their diplomas later in the week. Since the schools closed in March, some students left the city to spend time with their families in the interior. So, we could see additional graduates in the coming weeks or months.

During the months of June and July, students came to the center to take a photo in a cap and gown for their diplomas. We took these photos and arranged them their respective courses as shown below. Please join us in congratulating the 2019/2020 graduates in receiving their diplomas! 

Meet your Catering Graduates who made all the delicious treats during the past year. Some interned at Kailando Hotel near our center.
Meet your Computer Graduates who have learned the components, typing, and Microsoft Suite. Graduate with *** took 3 courses and ** took 2 courses.
Meet your Cosmetology Graduates, who have learned how to style hair, give facials, and manicures/pedicures. Graduate with *** took 3 courses.
Meet your Electrician Graduates with our first female, Mayesa, who learned how to work and install electricity along with installing our second phase of solar.
Meet your Hotel Management Graduates, who learned the many different roles from the front desk to housekeeping. Some interned at Kailando Hotel near our center. Graduate with *** took 3 courses and ** took 2 courses.
Meet your Plumbing Graduates who learned how to install pipe and fixtures, and connect the waterline, and your Tailoring Graduate learned how to cut and sew any outfit you would like.

Our heartfelt THANKS for being part of their year-long learning journey! Your kindness and support helped them achieve this important milestone of graduating. 

UDS Vocational Students Share With Each Other

UDS Vocational Students Share With Each Other

On Saturday, May 23, 2020, about 60 Vocational Training Students came to the center to receive their handwashing packages, because they were unable to come the week before. Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder & Director in Liberia held a meeting with the students. They all wore masks and observed social distancing. 

Your vocational training students one left and right, and Kelvin in the middle.

The students started sharing their concerns and thoughts with one another about the COVID-19, the reopening of schools, etc. Some students shared how times were hard and the struggles they are facing. Two students got up and shared their testimonials.

Linda Foeday, Cosmetology

The first one was Linda Foeday, a 2019 Hotel Management Graduate and soon-to-be Cosmetology graduate. She shared how fortunate she was to demonstrate her hotel management skills during the permaculture training in January 2019. Linda served the trainers from Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy during their nine-day stay. From this experience, she wanted to come back and learn more, and be part of the UDS Team. Based on her dedication, hard work, and leadership, she was appointed to run the Hair Salon that we acquired and opened last fall. 

Left to right: Linda receiving her Hotel Management Diploma in April 2019, at the salon in December 2019, and giving her testimony on May 23, 2019. 

Grace Gweh, Computers/Cosmetology/Hotel Management

Next up was Grace Gweh, a three-course soon-to-be graduate in computers, cosmetology, and hotel management. She did all of this while working as a primary school teacher. As she stood at the podium, Grace shared how she created the grade sheets for the students at her school. She then explained how she earned money from designing flyers or other materials for people requesting her service. Grace, a self-motivated person, wants to learn as much as she can. She definitely inspires others through her own example.

Left to right: Grace at the computer in our lab in June 2019, wearing her Hotel Management uniform made by our tailoring students in November 2019 and giving her testimonial on May 23, 2020.

As you see, your investment in students like Linda and Grace pays off. They could not have gotten this far without your generous help!

Now Donate with Apple Pay and Google Pay

Now Donate with Apple Pay and Google Pay

Recently, we updated our donation page to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay. As more people move to digital wallets, UDS wanted to provide this option to you, our valued supporter. 

LIBA Delegation to Liberia Postponed

LIBA Delegation to Liberia Postponed

If things were normal, I would have been in Liberia at this time. However, as the situation rapidly changed around the world, the Liberian Business Association (LIBA) decided on March 12 to postpone the trip indefinitely.

This was going to be an exciting trip. Our students were preparing for my arrival. Both the primary and vocational training students were planning their separate programs on my behalf. Also, the staff wanted me to wear this shirt when I arrived at the airport because they would be wearing something with the same fabric. They wanted us to be uninformed.

Additionally, Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder and Country Director worked on refreshing the center. For instance, he hand-drew some new images on the exterior walls. As shown below, he drew a treadle sewing machine, someone working on a computer, and an electrician ready for work. 

UDS Co-Founder Kelvin Fomba’s painting images to match our courses on the exterior walls.

Speaking of electricians, our students installed new exterior lights to brighten the entrance area. These particular light bulbs take less wattage to run, thus exacting less drain on our solar power. Again, we want Thank all of you that helped us install solar.  Since January 2019, we have not gone one day without lights. 

Your electrician students installing new solar light fixtures in the center’s courtyard.
Next Trip to Liberia

Next Trip to Liberia

The U.S. Co-Founder & Executive Director, Heather Cannon, joins the Liberian Business Association of Minnesota Delegation to Liberia in March. Heather’s last visit to Liberia was September 2013 to launch UDS. Now over six years later, she is excited to see how UDS transformed from an idea into a thriving educational and vocational training program.

Additionally, she will experience your students’ abilities as their customer in the following trades:

  1. Hotel management students will take care of her room while I stay at the York Plaza Hotel.
  2. Catering students will provide her meals each day.
  3. Cosmetology students will give her pedicures both weeks of her visit.
  4. Tailoring students will make her an outfit or two.

Furthermore, she will to work with our computer students and learn from your auto mechanic, electrician, and plumbing students. So, please stay tuned as she gives a personal account of how your students performed with me being a customer.

Thank you for all your support and including UDS in your charitable giving! 

Pin It on Pinterest